▷ Lovebirds: Types and Care of the «Inseparable» | Exotic birds

What does he have lovebirds What makes many have fallen in love with this curious bird? Her beauty? The simplicity of its care? Or could it be just how sociable he is with human beings? We tell you everything you need to know about these inseparable birds.

Types of lovebirds

What is a lovebird?

Lovebird roseicollis belongs to the family of the Psittaculidae, originally from Africa, of which they are distant relatives. Vulgarly, some call them the «inseparable» birds. In fact, its own name comes from the new Greek word agape, which means love or affects, and ornis, which means bird.

Given the the male and the female are inseparable, they spend a lot of time together, grooming each other’s feathers or snuggling together, it’s a name that comes in handy.

lovebird couple

Its shape is quite peculiar. These are small parrots, with a total of 9 species, whose size is between 13 and 16 cm, according to which species. Their plumages are very colorful and stand out for their short tail.

How is the behavior of a lovebird usually?

Lovebirds are usually animals quite reliable with the human being, although much more with his own species and other birds. As a general rule, it is not usually a violent animal or one that usually attacks, unless it feels very threatened. There are a series of clues that help to know what the mood of the bird is.

  • Cheerful: In the event that the lovebird is happy, it will be active, it will browse everything around it and comb its plumage, in addition to making sounds. He will not stand still for a single moment, which will show his good humor.
  • Quiet: In this case, the bird will stretch its legs and pose with its feathers hollowed out. It is also common for them to show a calm state when their head is back while on their perch.
  • Sad: The normal thing is that the agapornis is in movement. However, if the bird does not move or does not seem as sociable as other times, it will be because it is sad, maybe because it wants to get out of its cage or feels alone in it.
  • Sociable: The lovebird is a very sociable animal. With other birds you can check when they feed each other, put the two together on the stick or do not stop making sounds to each other.
  • Aggressive: It is not quite common to see an aggressive lovebird, but if it is, it will begin to flap its wings emitting constant and threatening noises, it will launch itself to attack with pikes or scratch with its legs. An example that they may be like this is because they believe their young are in danger.

How long does a lovebird live?

That’s a good question. The truth is that the life expectancy of these birds does not vary based on the species, but more or less all tend to live the same. In addition, it is one of the longest-lived bird species.

The average lifespan is about 12 years, but with good care, these birds can live up to 15 years without problems as long as they have been fed well and the owner has given them adequate care. It is not difficult, since the animal only requires about 20 minutes of care a day.

How to know if a lovebird is male or female?

Everyone says that it is best to look at the genitals of the bird when you wonder how to know if an inseparable is male and female, since the pelvic bones of the male are closer together while those of the female are separated and are rounded, allowing it to lay eggs. But there are other guidelines that help to know the sex of the bird.

For example, unlike in other species, females are usually larger than males, due to the hard task of laying eggs. The head of females is usually rounded and with a larger bill, while males have a more uniform head and a small bill. Females tend to be more aggressive and territorial with other birds than males..

How can you get the trust of a lovebird?

Many will see videos on the Internet where the owners calmly carry their lovebirds by the shoulder or in their hand. This is not something that is achieved overnight. It requires a long time of work and patience for the bird to gain trust with its owner.

At first it is best to keep a little distance. The bird being locked in a cage, without having any freedom, will feel a little sad. Also, you will find yourself in an unfamiliar environment, which will make you a little nervous. So, during the first days you have to avoid touching it or trying to pick it up at all costs.

After a couple of days is when you have to start trying to gain the trust of the bird. For this, it is best if the cage is located in a room where there is a lot of social life, such as a living room or a dining room. Little by little you have to approach the cage and pronounce its name, so that it gets used to the word. But if you notice that the animal avoids contact, it is best to let it be. Little by little the animal will get closer to the owner to recognize it. But you won’t be ready to be touched just yet.

There will come a time when the animal will not be scared when seeing its owner approach the cage. In that case you have to try start giving food straight from the hand, keeping the bed at all times. At first the animal may hesitate to approach, but little by little it will. You may not get it the first time, but it will end up.

When you get him to eat his «snacks» by the hand, it is time to start trying to get the lovebird to get on your finger. For it you have to lightly touch his abdomen, giving him a slight push to encourage him to get on. It is possible that it will come down right away, so at that moment you have to leave it be and try it again the next day. In a short time he will get used to climbing on the finger, and then it will be time to remove it from the cage with great care. It is important that the room is closed, as it is not strange that the bird tries to go out to explore its surroundings.

Is it advisable to let the lovebird out of its cage?

As with parakeets, there is no problem in letting the lovebirds out of the cage for fun flying around the house. But this only has to be done when the bird has gained some trust with its owner and with the rest of the people in the house.

You can let it fly around the house, but as long as all the windows are closed, although at the beginning it is best to close the door of the room in which the cage is located to avoid problems. When the bird gets tired of exploring, it will return to its cage itself. And if it doesn’t, just add a little of your favorite snacks to make it do so.

You do not have to worry about bumping the furniture, since this is common when you do not know the room in which it is located.

The cage, how does it have to be?

The cage, the home of your lovebird, cannot be just any way. You have to buy a cage that is of good quality, after all, it will be where the bird lives throughout its life.

Let’s start with the size. It is often said that «the bigger the better», but there is no reason to «go big» either. For a couple, for example, the cage would have to be 1 meter long, 0.5 meters wide and 0.5 meters high. So for the case in which you are going to have only one, it has to be a cage 0.5 meters long and 0.47 meters high and wide. But the best thing is that it is one designed for two birds, because that way the lovebird has enough space to fly. In addition, cages always have toys and other entertainment inside, so they end up getting small.

The shape of the cage is as important as the size. It should not be round, since this causes them insecurity by not having a reference point with which to feel calm, since all the points of the cage are the same. It also does not have to be a cage in the shape of a house, Since they are made mostly of plastic, this makes it impossible for them to climb the walls. So, the best option is a rectangular cage with horizontal bars so that they can be grasped with the legs or the beaks. The distance between the bars should not be more than 1.5 cm, avoiding so they can stick their heads between them and die from suffocation.

At least the cage must have two doors, one so that food and water can be administered, while the other will be so that they have a nest outside if they were to breed or so that the bird can go out to stretch its wings whenever it wishes. Feeders are best filled from the outside side, since making them inside can give them an escape route from the cage. With water it would be the same, buying a plastic tube with which the animal can drink, especially in summer.

There are many debates about the bottom grid in lovebird cages. It is true that if it is not there, it is easier to clean, but it also makes these animals eat the food that has fallen to the ground, which may be contaminated by their feces, which is not recommended.

At the bottom of the cage you have to put something that allows it to be easy to clean, such as kitchen paper or newspaper, along with special soil for poultry or ground corn. You should never use cat soil, since its absorption power could dry out the bird’s crop, nor can you use perfumed paper.

What to put in the lovebird cage?

As a general rule, when you buy a cage for lovebirds, it already has some plastic perches included. It is not that they are bad for them but they do not benefit them either, since with plastic they cannot file their nails. The ones that are not recommended, although they insist in the stores, are the limauñas hangers, since they are scratchy and can damage their legs.

The best is use natural branch perches. Today you can find a wide variety of these hangers in stores, or make them at home. They are not harmful to birds and they can file their nails without problems in them, in addition to being able to jump from one branch to another and thus do a little exercise in the cage.

The biggest mistake most first-time owners make is filling the cage with lots of toys, which really means that the animals have very little space in which to move since the cage ends up very full. That’s why you only have to buy them a couple of toys, like a rope or a swing. Unlike other birds, you can put a mirror on them, but it is not beneficial for the bird, since they are attracted to themselves by believing that they really have a companion in the cage and will not want to separate from him.

How do you clean the cage and the lovebird?

Lovebirds are very clean birds, and you can see how every two by three are grooming their wings. After all, they are quite flirtatious. That is why they like to live in cages that are very clean.

Once a week the cage must be completely disinfected, including bars and toys, using a cloth (exclusively for this task) with warm water with a little diluted bleach. Then you have to rinse it to avoid any remains and dry it with a cloth or towel.

As for the bird, the normal thing is that it cleans its feathers by itself, but you can put a large cup, or a large bowl, with water for it to take a bath and it will only wash itself. He doesn’t usually like humans to clean it up, so it’s best to let him do it himself.

Where should the cage be located?

Is it difficult to find the perfect location for a lovebird cage? Well, it can be a good headache. Because it must be located in a place where there are no drafts, that is, it should not be near doors or windows or on balconies, as many erroneously do.

The right place is for the cage to be in a place where two parts of it are glued to the wall, which will give a feeling of security to the bird, that is free of smoke and lights that can directly.

What do lovebirds eat?

The feeding of the inseparable papilleros is quite important, since they tend to get fat if they do not leave their cage to stretch their wings. That is why your diet has to be composed of a balanced diet.

The normal thing is that lovebirds eat a mixture that is composed of different types of seeds of a medium size, in which there are no pipes or fats that can make the animal fat. These are on the market, the ideal composition being: 40% canary seed, 12% yellow millet together with 12% white millet, 8% safflower, 4% buckwheat 6% hemp seed, 2% peeled oats, 6% red millet , 6% flaxseed and 4% black.

However, the lovebird can take other types of food, to guarantee the good state of its health this is essential. So, something extra that can be given to them is a feed specially designed for them, which will provide them with many nutrients that will help them to be healthy. They may not want to eat it at first, but over time they will accept it as just another meal.

It is recommended that a couple of days a week on the diet have some fruits and vegetables so that your body can receive vegetables. Among the most recommended are strawberries, orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, mandarin, papaya, garlic, lettuce, corn or green beans. All well minced so that it is much easier for them to eat.

However, they have a number of Forbidden food because they can be deadly for these, like avocado, potatoes, pumpkin, meat, coffee, parsley, alcoholic and soft drinks, chocolate, sweets or salty foods. Nor can they be given milk to drink instead of water, as it can cause serious digestive problems.

To ensure that the bird is healthy, especially during the breeding season, it is best to give it some vitamins. These can be given through the water, in small doses so that the animal does not detect them and does not make them «disgusted». There are many brands designed especially for these birds, so you have to go to them.

You have to think that when they are small, the offspring cannot eat the same as their parents. In these cases you have to look for breeding pasta, designed especially for the smallest of the cage. Many studies have shown that the young that eat this type of pasta grow much better. Many varieties can be found in the markets, which have been manufactured in collaboration between the big brands and professional breeders.

What disease can a lovebird have?

Lovebirds are not disease free. Some can be deadly, but others, if caught early, can be cured in a few days.

  • Respiratory Acariasis: The bird breathes tiredly, scratches its throat and has ruffled feathers. As a general rule, it is due to mites that nest in the mucous membranes of the throat. It can be easily cured with some antibiotics.
  • Cold: The common cold will make it difficult for him to breathe, will emit mucous from his nostrils, and will have ruffled feathers. If you have caught a cold, it is because you are in an area with strong drafts.
  • Asthma: You will breathe tiredly and feel dejected. This is because you are in an area of ​​the house with too much humidity or there are bacteria or fungi in your food. It is best to mix antibiotics with food to help it recover.
  • Dysentery: They will begin to release loose stools, their movements will be rough but reluctant, and they may peck at food aggressively in the most severe cases. It can be caused by eating food that is in poor condition or an excess of fruits or vegetables that are too ripe.
  • Coccidiosis: The most common symptom is that your stool has blood due to some parasites that have infected you. In these cases, the cage and the food must be disinfected before they are to be eaten.
  • Colibacillosis: They are not hungry and usually spend the day sleeping and anything makes them feel bad. It can be a fatal disease, so start giving antibiotics as soon as possible.
  • Enteritis: You will not have an appetite because of the intestinal inflammation, but you will be very thirsty. You will have parasites in your body due to having eaten bad food or due to emotional stress. Antibiotics must be given with the water to help flush them out.
  • Anomalous molt: Suddenly it will begin to have plucked parts of the body, with a deformed and ruffled plumage. In these cases you have to give food with many vitamins. It is usually common for feeling lonely or having lost a sentimental partner.
  • External parasites: Mites, lice or other parasites will be seen by the plumage. In these cases you have to clean the cage well and give the bird a place to clean itself.
  • Pneumonia: You will breathe with difficulty due to mucus in your nostrils. Like the cold, it is produced by having the cage located in an area with strong air currents. Antibiotics and vitamins must be given to help him recover.
  • Psittacosis: It is a rare disease today, of viral origin, but that sometimes occurs. It has no cure and is also fatal to humans. The bird will be nervous, very sleepy, will not comment, will not drink, and will have severe bouts of diarrhea.
  • Stings: If there are many mosquitoes in the house, it will not be strange that the bird has some bites. In these cases, some protectors must be placed in the cage to prevent the passage of mosquitoes. If the bird has been bitten, a special ointment must be applied to the affected area.
  • Salmonellosis: Although he will appear thin, his belly will be very bloated, his breathing will be labored, he will be very thirsty, but little desire to eat. Antibiotics and B vitamins should be given with food.

What steps must be followed to train a lovebird?

Some call, quite rightly, the lovebird «puppy with feathers.» It is not for less, since these animals are quite smart and can be trained, with enough constancy in training, so that they can learn the odd trick to teach the guests.

No, he will not speak as well as other parrots, but it is possible that when you call him he will come to you, remove the pencil with which you are writing or drink water from one of the glasses on the table. Even that it goes up to the head to peck it affectionately (some people feed them directly from it).

  • The training of this bird should begin at an early age, when they are about two or three months old, more or less. It is the stage where you are most ready to learn something new. Of course, you have to take into account some things:
  • Although it may be very interesting to learn new tricks, the bird may end up getting bored of doing the same thing over and over again, so if you notice that it has lost interest in the exercise, it is best to leave it alone.
  • Every day you have to dedicate a couple of sessions to training, with a lot of patience, since at first it will be difficult for him to pay attention.

Must reward him whenever he has done something well with a snack or your favorite food. But to make it more «special» for you, it has to be something you eat only once in a while. A treat that you give him a couple of times a week at most, which will make him try twice as hard to eat it.

When you start training, the room you train in should be closed, to prevent you from escaping through the window or through the door.

Do not force him to do what he does not want. Even if you already have a bond with your owner, you can be a little reluctant to try something new no matter how much it catches your eye.

It may peck you during the first days of training. In this case, you have to say «no» and put him back in the cage, so that he learns that this is not something he can do whenever he wants.

The normal thing is that this bird the trick that is taught is to climb the finger or go eat hand in hand. At first this must be done inside the cage, but when the bird already has a certain confidence and allows itself to be pulled up on the owner’s finger, it is possible to begin to prove that it comes when hearing the name. At first you will have to be close to the cage, and then, little by little, lengthen the distance, so that it gets used to going as soon as it hears its name. If you get it, you have to reward yourself with the treat that you like the most.

Among other things, he can be taught to go to the table to eat with the rest of the family or with the guests, even to do a little trick to attract the attention of those in the house. Of course, under no circumstances should you take it by force, since this makes you lose confidence. If he starts to fly over the room, you have to let him go back to his cage.

What should you know about the breeding of lovebirds?

Although the normal thing is that these birds make their nests themselves, you can put an artificial nest for them to live in, which are made of wood or backpacking nests. What’s more, these nests must be wide, since they have between four and six eggs in each laying.

Do not panic if you notice that the female becomes more aggressive, since when they are in heat, it is normal. It will want to be in the nest and it will be the male who feeds it by regurgitating the food in its beak. A way to show the love that is processed. They should not be forced to breed, but rather nature should take its course.

Since the female during the breeding time is so weak, you have to feed it with a food that has calcium, a piece of fruit or giving it some vitamins with this mineral in the water, to strengthen it.

After mating, the female will enter the nest and will not come out anymore. It will lay an egg one day and another not, and can reach up to 6 eggs. Once these are in place, wait a few 24 days of incubation for the chicks to be born and another month and a half for them to be independent enough to have their own module in the cage.

What else do you need to know to take good care of your lovebird?

Taking into account how to take care of your lovebirds, do you want some final advice?

  • It is important not to overindulge in giving them treats, as they easily get fatter. They have to get used to the fact that a kiss, a caress or a praise can also be a reward.
  • When trying to train him it is important that the workouts do not exceed 20 minutes, so that he does not exhaust himself. As long as you practice 20 minutes a day, you will be happy with the owner.
  • If you try to feed him by the hand, it is possible that he will peck at you at first. In this case, you do not have to remove your hand, since it will understand that its beak is its weapon and it could be used to attack.
  • When establishing a bond with the bird, such as touching it, you have to be calm, since they detect nervousness and this also makes them nervous.
  • You should never yell at a lovebird or hurt it, as this generates fear and mistrust.
  • He must spend at least 22 hours inside his cage, so that he does not get used to the outside so much. It’s okay to let him out of it, but only to eat from your hand or to show off to friends when he’s trained.

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